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Company will fly you and a friend to the moon for only $1.5 billion

Ever thought about traveling to the moon?

Well, a new company has proposed plans to begin shuttling space enthusiasts to the moon for the small price of $1.5 billion.

Golden Spike, the company proposing the plan, is headed by NASA associate administrator Alan Stern. In a statement released Thursday, company officials said they plan to utilize existing rocket and capsule technology.

“Two seats, 750 each,” former NASA associate administrator Alan Stern said on Thursday, shortly before he appeared at the National Press Club in Washington to announce the formation of the company. “The trick is 40 years old. We know how to do this.”

“We realize this is the stuff of science fiction. We intend to make it science fact,” Stern said at the news conference. He added: “We believe in the price points that we’re talking about.”

It remains unclear exactly how the company plans on getting people to the moon in a space fashion. The endeavor, one of a number of private sector attempts to capitalize on the growing space tourism industry, was welcomed by NASA. In a statement released by the U.S. space agency, officials said they plan to provide experts that can assist companies interested in furthering the space industry.

“This type of private sector effort is further evidence of the timeliness and wisdom of the Obama Administration’s overall space policy — to create an environment where commercial space companies can build upon NASA’s past successes, allowing the agency to focus on the new challenges of sending humans to an asteroid and eventually Mars,” NASA spokesman David Weaver said in a written statement.

It remains unclear how long it will take for the project to take off. Speaking Thursday, Stern said they are in the preliminary phase of constructing a plan that could take years, or even a decade, to put in place. The group says the hope is to have a spacecraft operational by 2020.

“It’s not about being first. It’s about joining the club. We’re kind of cleaning up what NASA did in the 1960s. We’re going to make a commodity of it in the 2020s,” Stern said.

While the idea seems out of this world, the group says it plans to sell trips to the moon to countries interested in spaceflight.

“We’re selling to nations, corporations and individuals,” said Stern. “Get in line — and I think it’s going to be a long one.”

“We know how to do this,” he added. “The difference is now we have rockets and space capsules in the inventory. … We don’t have to invent them from a clean sheet of paper. We don’t have to start over.”